Independent Political Endorsements 2003 | News Feature | Indy Week
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Independent Political Endorsements 2003 

Durham County
In his first-term, Durham Mayor Bill Bell is doing a very good job. An experienced public servant with 26 years as a county commissioner under his belt, Bell brought his cool head and consensus-building skills to City Hall, and has employed them effectively since taking office in 2001. Bell has gradually begun to apply the brakes on suburban growth overburdening the city's infrastructure and decimating downtown. Leaning heavily on the city's commitments to long-range land-use plans and his adroit leadership skills, he has guided various projects appropriately and stopped others, such as a proposed shopping center at Guess and Latta roads on 15 acres zoned for low-density residences. Other highlights of Bell's first term include pushing through health benefits for domestic partners of city employees and negotiating a sorely needed compromise on the long-brewing conflict over the Eno Loop.

The Independent strongly endorses the 62-year-old incumbent for a second two-year term.

Between now and 2005, though, we hope to see progress in a few more areas. Bell campaigned two years ago on a promise to clean up blighted, inner-city neighborhoods, a commitment he's reiterating this time around. Yet the Barnes Avenue project, a $10-million revitalization initiative he touted as much as 24 months ago, just began in July. If the city is to succeed in getting ahead of the urban decay plaguing its poorest neighborhoods, the mayor needs to show a stronger hand and set a faster pace for moving forward. That approach must include a more efficient and aggressive effort at cleaning up the city's besmirched housing department, which is taking too long to get on its feet in the wake of financial mismanagement scandals. Also on the administrative side, Bell should take a stronger stance on management issues, including setting a lower tolerance limit for the shenanigans coming out of City Manager Marcia Conner's office in the last year: the botched search for a police chief, contractual improprieties and inappropriate budget proposals, like cuts to bus services.

In the Oct. 7 primary, Bell faces cosmetologist Carolina James-Rivera and airport security worker Jonathan Alston, both newcomers to city politics.

City Council
In the Durham City Council race, 12 candidates are vying for three at-large seats, with only one incumbent seeking re-election. The Oct. 7 primary will narrow the field to six, who will face off in the general election next month. For the first time since the council was reduced from 12 members to six, the at-large seats carry a four-year term, giving the winners a chance to really make a difference in city government. We believe activist Diane Catotti, former city councilwoman Diane Wright and longtime political leader Eugene Brown are the three for the job.

A progressive activist behind the scenes for years, Diane Catotti offers voters a breath of fresh air on the ballot. She's got sterling credentials: political experience as the head of the People's Alliance, a social and economic justice organization; a career as an international health advocate; fluency in Spanish; and a record of reaching out to Durham's African-American and Latino communities, most recently in her role as the PTA president at Burton Elementary, the inner-city magnet school her children attend. Catotti, 42, is the first white city council candidate in recent elections to receive the key endorsement of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People--a testament to her ability to build bridges across racial divides. In addition to a proven track record out in the community, Catotti is a regular at council meetings and has done her homework on policy issues. The city's dearth of affordable housing and home-ownership opportunities and its long history of mismanaging growth top her list of Durham's most pressing problems, followed by a lack of opportunities for youth, leading to high dropout rates and gang participation. The Independent heartily endorses Catotti for an at-large seat, with full confidence she will measure up to the high bar she sets for both herself and her city.

For the second seat, Diane Wright deserves a return to the council. While serving from 1989 to 1997, Wright demonstrated her commitment to progressive principles with her support for the living wage ordinance, expansion of the city's recycling program and work on affordable housing initiatives. During her break from public office, she has chaired the city's Campaign for Decent Housing and other community groups, including some high-profile committees in her professional role as a county social worker. This election cycle, she comes back to the table with several laudable ideas. Most notably, Wright, 54, proposes developers be required to meet with neighborhoods before coming to the council with projects--a plan that would put citizens at the table, rather than in the audience. And while we applaud Wright's record and ideas, we encourage her to step up to the plate more actively in office. During her previous terms, constituents complained of her lack of responsiveness to calls and letters, and she sometimes failed to take a leadership role on issues when her voice was needed. This time around, she would be one of seven votes, rather than 13, and she needs to use that vote more effectively.

Speaking of the council reduction, that brings us to our third nominee, Eugene Brown. A founder and long-time leader of the moderate Durham Voters Alliance PAC, Brown led the drive for the council reduction. Most progressives--and The Indy--disagreed heartily with Brown on that issue. But compared with the rest of the field, we believe the 59-year-old real estate broker specializing in historic properties brings a set of skills and a knowledge base to the job that will make him a good council member, even if we don't always agree with his policy stances. Chief among the qualities that recommend him are his shrewd business sense and a solid grasp of issues that comes from his many years of following city politics and the inner workings of government. In a break from his professional colleagues, Brown supports impact fees for schools. He also supports other progressive initiatives, such as health benefits for domestic partners of city employees, and has good ideas for improving government, such as incentives for police officers to take Spanish. That said, we don't expect Brown will always vote the right way, but we do expect him to stand up to his promise to use his business skills and long knowledge of issues to "restore the city's accountability and credibility" and clean up the administrative and management messes plaguing City Hall and its departments.

Along the way, we encourage Brown to temper his communication style, which can be didactic and condescending--two qualities that will be a problem during fractious council debates and interactions with Durham's diverse populace.

Also seeking seats in the at-large race are two-term incumbent Thomas Stith and Warren Herndon, who ran last year for county commissioner. Stith, a business consultant, has a track record of supporting development without modulation. Herndon, a retired Duke administrator who received the endorsements of the People's Alliance and the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, demonstrates a good grasp of buzzwords but offers few realistic platforms and lacks the managerial strengths the city so desperately needs right now.

Seven other candidates are also seeking seats: furniture merchant and Friends of Durham PAC leader Matt Yarbrough; former planning commission member Craigie Sanders; political newcomers Steve Lathrup and Robert Woodson III; Libertarians Ray Ubinger and husband-and-wife team Michael Owen and Rachel Mills; perennial candidate Joe Williams; and conservative crusader Victoria Peterson.

Durham Voting Guide
On Oct. 7, Durham County voters nominate mayor and council candidates who will move on to the Nov. 4 General Election. For information on where to vote, call the Durham County Board of Elections, 560-0700 or go to . Below are The Independent's endorsements, based on extensive research and detailed questionnaires sent to each candidate.

Mayor: William V. "Bill" Bell

City Council At-Large (3 seats): Eugene Brown, Diane Catotti, Diane Wright

Wake County
Mayor Charles Meeker's political philosophy: Local governments must govern from the center, "not getting too far ahead of or too far behind what a community is willing to accept." Not surprising, then, that his first two-year term has been characterized by small, incremental steps and no bold changes in the city's direction. That's partly the result of a sluggish economy, which has curtailed the growth of city tax revenues. It's partly the result of a 4-4 political split between the Meeker-led moderates on the City Council, all Democrats, and its conservative Republican members. (City elections, however, are officially non-partisan.) But it's also Meeker's nature: He's cautious, and he's just not much in the communications department. If there's a vision thing going on in Meeker's mind, he doesn't waste any of his time describing it to us.

Meanwhile, Raleigh conservatives pound away on their theme of "low taxes, and by the way, low taxes." That Raleigh does not collect enough taxes to keep up with its current growth, let alone to invest in the kind of public works improvements and community development that would improve its future economic prospects, will come as news to most voters. And that's the problem with governing from the middle of Raleigh right now: One side has been pretty effective at dragging the city to the political right; the other side not so good at making the case for progress. To say nothing of the conservatives' addiction to sprawl, and the moderates unwillingness to head them off.

This election year could see a breakthrough, however. Council candidates Thomas Crowder, in District D, and Bruce Spader, in District B, are forceful opponents of sprawl and proponents of, to use Crowder's term, "pro-active, rather than reactive, land-use planning." In the classic Raleigh standoff between neighborhoods and developers, they are pro-neighborhoods all the way. Their point: Raleigh can be a first-rate city of great neighborhoods, but sprawl and scattershot development threaten to make it a second-rate Atlanta.

We've lamented his caution, but The Independent again endorses Charles Meeker for mayor, believing that he's moving in the right direction on many fronts, if not very fast. Meeker says future growth should be focused in downtown and Southeast Raleigh. Right. But it would help if he and the council would stop approving projects that are too big for--that is, they will generate too many cars in--their suburban sites. Maybe then those projects, in urban form, would actually come downtown. Do we really need another mega-development above Crabtree Valley Mall?

Meeker's put a lot of energy into his slow-developing plans for a new convention center downtown and for tearing out the Fayetteville Street Mall (or most of it) so that cars and people can return. That's the right idea, though the devil is certainly in the details. He's a supporter of the Triangle Transit Authority's rail commuter plans. Good again. And he'll look at higher impact fees on sprawl if others will.

But getting people to live downtown is the prerequisite to its revitalization and to curbing sprawl. Preoccupied by the convention center and his desire to "govern from the middle" between developers and good-growth policies, Meeker's done little more than jawbone where downtown housing is concerned--and as noted above, jawboning is not his strong suit.

Meeker's opponent, Councilor John Odom, is a franchise auto-shop owner and executive director of the downtown Raleigh Merchants Association, which among other things runs the Christmas parade. Odom is well-liked everywhere in Raleigh, it seems. But on the issues he offers nothing useful. He's theoretically in favor of most of Meeker's agenda--the convention center, the mall revamp, reconstructing Hillsborough Street, the stormwater utility fee--he just doesn't want to move on it as swiftly as Meeker(!). And where Meeker's pro-TTA, Odom says Raleigh needs to "make sprawl work for us" by building up around Interstate-540 and putting commuter transit off indefinitely.

"An infrastructure guy," Odom apparently sees no connection between Raleigh's growing backlog of public works needs and its pro-sprawl development patterns. That's just myopic.

City Council
The key council race, and the hardest-fought, is in District D, in central and south Raleigh, where the incumbent, Benson Kirkman, is seeking a fourth term. Kirkman is a hard worker with good intentions, but he tries so hard to please everyone on every issue that he ends up being ineffectual where he's needed most. We endorse Thomas Crowder, an architect who has emerged as a forceful leader for smart-growth policies in his four years on the city planning commission. Crowder would be in the tradition of District D representatives who were leaders on land-use issues. Kirkman, though he tries, hasn't been.

Two key issues in District D illustrate the difference between Crowder and Kirkman: the rental-housing issue around N.C. State, and the infamous Coker Towers rezoning fight. On rental housing, Crowder took the bull by the horns in the planning commission, pushing hard--in concert with his neighbors in Avent West--for a package of reforms, starting with licensing rental houses and using the money to hire more zoning inspectors. Kirkman says he raised the issue three years ago. If he did, it's been to no avail--the Council sidetracked Avent West's plans and continues to "study" the problem.

The brouhaha over Coker Towers was as much about Raleigh's penchant for letting developers do its planning as it was about the project itself, a highway-sized monster in an in-town neighborhood. Kirkman said it could be "tweaked," though he finally came out against it. Crowder labeled it fundamentally wrong and, though in the minority on the planning commission, fought it there. Since then, he's led an ad hoc advisory group that's trying to bring "urban-form planning" to downtown Raleigh neighborhoods and add teeth to the city's now-optional Urban Design Guildelines. He's gotten no help from anyone on the council, though, including Kirkman.

Kirkman is known as an environmentalist, and he has accomplished some good things on council, including the purchase of land around Lake Johnson to save it from development. But he lost a lot of political support when he voted with the conservatives, and against Meeker, to give State Republican Chair Bill Cobey's firm the contract to lobby for the city in Washington; Cobey, a Jesse Helms protege, is now running for governor. Kirkman's explanation: A Republican firm would do better with the Republican Congress. Perhaps. Did it have to be Cobey's Republican firm?

Two other candidates are running. Jack Alphin, a retired IBM exec, is a Republican who lived, until two years ago, in northernmost Wake County, from where he served as chair of the county Board of Adjustment. He's reasonable-sounding on issues and wants Raleigh to build a "pre-eminent" convention center downtown. Zach Medford, a 20-year old N.C. State University student, has more confidence in himself than his knowledge of the issues warrants.

In the District B (Northeast Raleigh) race, incumbent John Odom is running for mayor. The election of Bruce Spader, a former Texaco sales executive, would add a progressive voice to the council, tilting the balance--assuming no other changes--to a 5-3 majority of moderates. Like Crowder, Spader decries Raleigh's propensity to "live project-to-project rather than having a long-term plan driving development." The result of all the rezonings, he says, is too many cars driving too many miles, polluting the air and hurting Raleigh's appeal as a place to live and raise families. Worse, the sprawl is outstripping Raleigh's existing road and drainage capacities: Spader, a member of the task force that helped enact a new, much-needed stormwater utility fee, says the city has a $100 million backlog of work to correct flooding problems caused by dumb development.

Candidate Jessie Taliaferro, as a member of the planning commission, is overly "flexible" about approving projects that don't comply even with the very flexible Raleigh comprehensive plan. She's also stood in the way of Crowder's reform efforts. Karen Moye-Stallings is an advocate for persons with disabilities--she copes with cerebral palsy herself--and attractive in that sense; but she declares herself a conservative Republican, a position at odds with her advocacy of more mass transit and affordable housing.

District A (North Raleigh) always elects a Republican; recently it's been Kieran Shanahan, who isn't seeking re-election. Our preference this year is Republican Roger Kosak, an accounting executive and a longtime member of the city parks and recreation board with a pretty good grasp of growth issues. Kosak's pro-convention center as long as the city doesn't have to subsidize a new hotel to get it. His opponent, Mike Regan, owns a local manufacturing company and has written two management books. He's against the convention center unless the private sector builds it, and is anti-government in general. He vows never to vote for a tax or fee increase of any kind--ever. Never ever.

Similarly, District E (Northwest) will surely re-elect Republican Philip Isley, who is a lawyer and nice guy but too far to the right on almost every issue. (He did vote in favor of city funding for the Contemporary Art Museum, so props for that.) His opponent, Jim Roush, is a self-described independent with liberal environmental and social views but fiscally conservative. (How do you do that again?) A hydrogeologist with the state Division of Water Quality, he sounds all right. No sign of his campaign, however.

In District C (Southeast), incumbent James West, a moderate, is unopposed for re-election.

In the at-large Council race, you get two votes. We enthusiastically supported Janet Cowell when she won in '01. We do so again. We didn't endorse Neal Hunt last time, but somehow he won anyway and has been a constructive Council member since. And the only other serious candidate, John Knox, promises to be a little more conservative than Hunt--that wouldn't help, would it?

Cowell, a smart-growth advocate, puts her finger on Raleigh's fundamental fiscal problem when she says the city is subsidizing sprawl by refusing to consider higher impact fees for new development. Current fees account for about 10 percent of the cost of the new roads, sewers, water mains, etc., that sprawl requires, according to Cowell. But only she and Meeker voted in favor of a motion to study the question! It failed 6-2. "We don't have the planning tools we need right now," she says.

Indeed, the optional Urban Design Guidelines are the only tool Raleigh's got. Give Hunt credit: He backed them when other conservatives wouldn't. A real estate developer himself, "I know when they're blowing smoke and when they're not," he says. Next step: Voting against "good" projects in the wrong places.

Knox, a retired cop, was briefly Raleigh's interim police chief. He's solid. The other candidates, Bob Rogan and Dani Nation--who was writing about her candidacy for the late Lather magazine--are more ethereal.

Wake County Board of Education
The Wake schools fell short of Goal 2003, which aimed at having 95 percent of students testing at or above grade-level in Grades 3 and 8--the ones with end-of-grade testing. So why was everybody cheering? Because Goal 2003 had the desired effect of pushing students' performance up virtually across-the-board. In this case, close did count.

From here, Superintendent Bill McNeal looks like The Man. He's a leader, he's everywhere, and he's got most people in the schools on his side. But the school board also deserves credit for doing a very difficult job very well. Wake County now has 125 schools and nearly 110,000 students, and it's growing at a rate of 3,000-4,000 new students every year. That's a huge system, so it would be easy to let a few schools slip because, after all, so many others are doing so well. Given the pressures for "neighborhood schools," and the emergence of the Cary-based group Assignment by Choice to agitate for them, the inclination to give in to such temptation is obvious. But the school board hasn't given in--not yet.

Five good board members were up for re-election this year. Tom Oxholm, a business executive who was--to us, anyway--a pleasant surprise representing North Raleigh's District 3, is not running again. Carol Parker, retired from Bell South, is unopposed for his seat. And in District 4, in Southeast Raleigh, incumbent Rosa Gill is also unopposed.

The other three incumbents have opposition of varying quality, but all strongly merit re-election.

In District 5, in central Raleigh, Susan Parry is a passionate and effective proponent of the system's long-standing commitment to diversity--and excellence--in every school. This year she was elected board chair. Given Wake County's historically segregated housing patterns, and the growth of upscale suburbs at the county's northern and western edges, the school system has painstakingly produced a blend of magnet schools, year-round schools, reassignments and, yes, busing to assure that every school is balanced. Parry likens it to a healthy ecosystem, which requires that all the key parts be in careful balance and constantly evolving to meet changing circumstances. A PTA leader before her election to the board in 1999, Parry has a good feel for what the balance should be today.

Running against her, Traci Griggs is a former radio reporter who owns a media production company. She's good on her feet but off on the key issue. She says the school board should emphasize closing the achievement gap between well-off and low-income students. That sounds right, but can't be achieved if everybody's in their "neighborhood schools."

Griggs, "pro-choice," as it were, and anti-reassignments, is backed by the ABC group. Parry has the support of the teachers association.

Three other candidates are running. Sam Brewer is a recent N.C. State graduate who works as a mover. He's charmingly vague. Thomas Wayne Allen is a perennial candidate for various offices.

In District 6, western Wake, incumbent Beverley Clark is, like Parry, a longtime PTA and community leader who argues that if some schools are allowed to slip, good teachers will avoid them and they'll keep slipping. The key to good schools, she says: Good teachers. Her opponent, Victor Marks, is a Libertarian Party member who seems to know very little about school policies. He does say he's against the current "guideline" that tries to keep the number of low-income students in any school under 45 percent of the total.

The closest contest is likely to be District 8 (Southwest Wake), where incumbent Jeff York is running for the first time after being appointed by the board to fill the vacancy created when Wray Stephens stepped down in 2001. York has competition from ABC-backed Ron Margiotta, a retired business owner who served on a small-town New Jersey school board 30 years ago and now lives in Cary. Herman Colvin, a crime scene investigator with Wake County who lives in Apex, is also running.

We like York, a fast learner who talks like the straight-up engineering manager he is (with a local tech firm). Growth doesn't pay for itself, he observes, at least not for the county, and certainly not for school costs. Yet county voters seem surprised when taxes must be raised to pay for schools (while municipal tax rates go down) and bond issues floated to build new ones. What's needed, York thinks, is a clear strategic plan that tells the public what's coming for the next 10 years--how many new students, new schools, and new tax requirements to pay for them. He also thinks teacher pay should go up.

Margiotta doesn't argue with that. He does argue that Wake should move to neighborhood schools, offering extra help to the schools that end up with disproportionate numbers of low-income kids. York, by contrast, supports the system's diversity goals, though he believes gradually the 45 percent guideline--not always followed now--can be moved to 50 percent.

Colvin, too, wants to minimize reassignment while maintaining diversity. He's not real clear on how, nor does he cite any experience that suggests he's up on school policy questions.

Bond Issues
Wake Schools: Doesn't it seem like every other year or so, the Wake school system is back, looking for huge amounts of money to build and renovate facilities? It's true. The schools put up a $650 bond in '98. It lost. Voters passed a $400 million bond in 2000. This year, the asking price is $450 million. We recommend a "Yes" vote.

Put simply, the Wake County Commissioners, under conservative control in the 1990s, put the school system in a deep hole by slashing taxes and skimping on school bonds. Suddenly, trailer-classrooms were everywhere. That's one reason the system needs money. The other: 4,600 new students this year, and 3,000-4,000 just about every year for the foreseeable future. With $450 million, the plan is to build 13 new schools, renovate 16 more, and do catch-up repairs on another 61. That won't catch us up. It will gain on the problem.

Wake Libraries: The county's 17 libraries circulate 6.1 million books a year and have 600 computers for public use. Enough? Not nearly. With $35 million, the county will build four more in the 'burbs--Cary, Wakefield, Leesville and Holly Springs--and either expand the North Raleigh branch or relocate it entirely. That'll scratch the surface. So vote "Yes."

Raleigh Parks & Greenways: No tax increase, the city promises. In fact, it won't actually issue the $47.2 million in bonds--assuming voters approve them--until growth in city revenues assures the debt can be serviced without raising the property tax rate. Raleigh should be aggressively protecting open space and connecting the greenway pieces so that they become a coherent system for pedestrian and bicycle transportation. This is moving in the right direction. Vote "Yes."

There was a time when Cary needed a kick in the pants. And Glen Lang was the man for the job. Developers run the town? Lang would put a stop to that. Pell-mell growth outstripping the roads, water and sewer facilities and other public infrastructure? Lang, and the bunch that came into office with him, would s-l-o-w things down, put big impact fees on new development and step up the pace of facilities construction. In 1999, Lang was elected mayor at the head of a slate of slow-growth candidates. He promised to serve just one term.

Four years later, mission well under way. And yet, Lang's colleagues--and indeed all of the other six members of the Town Council--sent an unmistakable distress signal to the voters. In a letter addressed to Lang and then made public, the six accused him of a serious ethical breach in 2002 for failing to disclose his business relationship with the son of the lead developer on the huge (1.094-acre) Amberly Planned Unit Development tract. David Falk, Jr., they'd learned, was among the investor-owners of Lang's company, Capitol Broadband, which sells internet-provider services to apartment complexes. Falk Jr. works at Drucker & Falk, a firm run by his father that owns and manages such complexes. David Falk, Sr. was also, at the time, lead developer of the Amberly PUD. When Falk Sr. came to the Town Council seeking approval of a rezoning amendment in April, 2002, it was Lang who moved its approval.

The six Council members said Lang should have revealed his business deal with Falk Jr. and recused himself from voting, or at least asked for legal guidance on the question.

"We feel it is our duty to draw these matters to your attention, to share our serious concern over the appearance of impropriety and perceived breach of ethics," they wrote.

(Translation: We've had it with this guy.)

Typically, Lang's response made their point for them better than any letter could. Instead of acknowledging his mistake and the importance of good conduct in public office, Lang let loose on his accusers. They were arrogant. He was the victim. Having thus hoisted himself onto the cross, Lang proceeded to point a Judas finger at Councilor Julie Robison, who had the temerity to run against him for mayor. She was taking contributions from developers while saying that perhaps, with construction in Cary slowed to a crawl and those impact fees bringing in much less money, maybe the town should consider whether they'd gotten a little too high. "Some," Lang trumpeted, were "selling their offices" for contributions. At that point, Robison had accepted the princely sum of $1,200 from real estate interests. Lang, the martyr, said he would take no contributions from anyone, and spend only the $10 filing fee to be re-elected.

Glen Lang was always a mixed-bag personality-wise. Absolutely sure of himself, he considered anyone who disagreed with him to be stupid or corrupt. Maybe both. As Don Hyatt put it on, he has a reputation as a bully who won't compromise and doesn't listen very well. Lang's behavior, if tolerable before, is now beyond the pale. We think voters should hold him to that one-term pledge: We endorse Julie Aberg Robison for mayor, knowing she will continue Lang's good policies while Cary kicks his bad attitude and disdain for ethical conduct to the curb.

Robison is superbly qualified for the job. A senior public administration specialist with the nonprofit Research Triangle Institute, she consults with governments around the country and the world on good planning and management practices, always emphasizing the importance of citizen participation. "Results will always be more sustainable when the community participates," she says.

This is especially true on the thorny problem of school reassignment. Lang's idea of citizen participation was to ally his himself with the "neighborhood schools" group known as Assignment By Choice and to create a rump task force that played with notions of a district scheme within the Wake school system. The effect was to undercut public support for continuing diversity in all of the Wake schools, as Lang well knew. As Councilor Nels Roseland says, in opposition to the mayor's efforts: "Instead of considering public school options that divide and polarize Wake County, we need to consider approaches that bring our schools and our children closer together."

This Robison promises to do by working with the schools as well as the community: "Collaboration ... without being adversarial, alienating or threatening toward key stakeholders," is her idea of the right mayoral role. And impact fees? They seem about right for Cary, but there may be some exceptions. We're told the fee on a new medical office in Cary is $360,000, vs. $30,000 in Raleigh. Guess where the doctors go?

A third candidate, retired banker Ernie McAlister, is a former Cary Chamber of Commerce president who thinks the Council's spending too much on infrastructure. Not true. But otherwise, he's quite moderate-sounding for someone who lists Ronald Reagan as his political hero.

City Council
Since we think the policies of the past four years have been progressive, we're not inclined to change the bulk of the cast that brought them to Cary. So we endorse the re-election bids of Harold Weinbrecht and Nels Roseland, in the at-large and District B races. Weinbrecht. a SAS software developer, is a strong supporter of high impact fees; otherwise, he says, the burden of new development falls on existing property owners, some of whom may be the new businesses' competitors. But Cary should consider using targeted incentives, he says, to attract the kind of high-tech and technical businesses to town that it wants without offering across-the-board subsidies via fee cuts.

Roseland, the fiscal officer at the N.C. Attorney General's office, is Cary's foremost proponent of open-space acquisition; he led the effort that has put aside 3,400 acres of land for Cary's, and Wake County's, future benefit.

Wake Voting Guide
On Oct. 7, Wake County voters will elect a Raleigh mayor and seven council members; Cary mayor and three town council members; five members of the Wake County Board of Education; and local officials in other municipalities in which The Independent is not making endorsements. For information on all races and where to vote, call the Wake County Elections Board at 856-6240 or go to .

Below are The Independent's endorsements, based on extensive research and detailed questionnaires sent to every candidate.

Raleigh Mayor: Charles C. Meeker

Raleigh City Council District A: Roger Kosak

Raleigh City Council District B: Bruce Spader

Raleigh City Council District D: Thomas Crowder

Raleigh City Council District E: Jim Roush

Raleigh City Council District At-Large: Janet Cowell, Neal Hunt

Cary Mayor: Julie Aberg Robison

Cary Town Council District B: Nels Roseland

Cary Town Council At-Large: Harold Weinbrecht

Wake Board of Education, District 5: Susan Parry

Wake Board of Education, District 6: Beverley Clark

Wake Board of Education, District 8: Jeff York

Wake School Bonds: Yes

Wake Library Bonds: Yes

Raleigh Parks and Greenways bonds: Yes


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